Anh Nguyen, Keith Lewis and Dontavious Harvey hadn’t known each other long.
Nguyen started attending Temple Christian Academy two years ago. Lewis and Harvey joined only a few months ago, but coming from much larger schools.
But on Sunday, the three became graduates — the only 2017 graduates — of the small school attached to the Temple Baptist Church in Gulfport.
And at the ceremony, speakers had a forward looking but cautionary message for them.
“You’ve proven you can finish what you started. In this day and age that’s an accomplishment,” said Russ Bell, a well-known preacher and theologist from North Carolina.
Bell also told the graduates to look to God as they make their way forward and stressed accountability.
“The lives you’ve been wanting are now yours,” he said. “Do what you want to do but the choices you make, you’ll be brought to account.”
Principal Valerie Crane had particular praise for Nguyen, the class valedictorian who immigrated to the U.S.
“She has overcome many obstacles,” Crane said. “Anything Anh did not know, she wouldn’t let it go. And not just to get the answer right, she wanted to know.”
Harvey says he plans to study aviation after graduating while Lewis will go into the workforce. Nguyen plans to study nursing at William Carey University with an eye toward pediatric nursing or physical therapy.
Temple Christian Academy
Valedictorian: Anh Nguyen
Class size: 3
Principal: Valerie Crane
Quote: “You’ve proven you can finish what you started. In this day and age that’s an accomplishment.” Russ Bell